Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Baby Shower Honors Women Veterans
On June 28, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) held a Baby Shower at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa for Women Veterans who are expectant mothers or who have recently delivered.
Women Veterans who attended got the opportunity to learn about VA benefits and services specifically for women, including maternity benefits. They also received gift bags and other items such as diaper bags, baby outfits, blankets, bibs, toys, lotion and shampoo.
“We want to let women Veterans know that, even though we are not seeing them at the VA for their prenatal appointments, we do still care about them and their babies,” said Susan Hartsell, JCMVAMC Women Veterans Program Manager. “We also provided them with information about Public Law 111-163, which authorizes the VA to furnish health care services of the newborn’s routine medical care for seven days.”
The gift bags and items were donated by the Oklahoma Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Green Country District Chapters. Jane Smith, a member of DAR, said the group appreciates the service of women Veterans and wants to help them anyway they can.
“We just really like to help Veterans, so we thought it would be great to help these women who have served our country and do something for them,” said Smith. “We just think their service to our country is amazing. So if there is any way we can help these women with having their babies, it’s someway to repay them for what all they’ve done for our country.”
Iraq War Veteran Jennifer Bibbs, who is expecting a baby boy on Thanksgiving Day, said she was surprised when she received an invitation for Baby Shower in the mail and thought it would be an interesting event to attend.
“I didn’t realize they did stuff like this,” said Bibbs, who served in Iraq during 2003-2004 with the 4th Infantry Division, 125th Signal Brigade. “I thought it was pretty neat and thought I might as well take advantage of it and participate since they went to all the work to do it.”
Navy Veteran Julie Kleinknight, who is expecting a baby boy on July 23, was also surprised when she received her invitation in the mail and decided to drive an hour and a half from her home in Afton, Okla. to attend.
“It’s amazing that they did this for us,” said Kleinknight. “I felt like if they’re going to do it, then I should support it. I just thought it was awesome.”
Kleinknight left the Navy in 2000 after serving for eight years with the Seabees, but didn’t enroll for VA health care until 2012. She said she was pleasantly surprised with all the services that VA provides, especially those specifically for women.
“I’ve found that there are many services out there that I didn’t know about over the last 12 years,” she said. “I think it’s amazing what they’re doing for women and women’s health with the VA.”
If you’re a Woman Veteran and want to learn more about VA health care, please contact Susan Hartsell at 918-577-4277.